21 servings of Soylent: A review

Plain Soylent

Plain Soylent – looks tasty, eh?

Curious about Soylent? I downed it 21 times, so now I’m an expert. But I’m not a fanatic – about Soylent. I’m simply obsessed with finding the closest equivalent on the market to Jetsons food – a tasty, sterile, fully balanced, prefab meal. I ordered Soylent after reading about it in the New Yorker. I was living in Uganda, where I suffered frequently from food-borne illnesses.

Because Soylent had a lengthy backlog of orders, I received my order after a five-month wait. By that time, I unexpectedly had relocated to the United States, leaving behind my reason for drinking Soylent. But since then I’ve started taking a medication that works better with a fatty meal, and Soylent nicely provides one-third of the recommended daily allotment. Furthermore, my medicine severely depletes my energy, so Soylent – which comes in the mail – relieved me of grocery shopping and extensive food-preparation.

In short, I’ve identified three good reasons to consume Soylent: it’s clean, extremely well-balanced, and easy to prepare.Undoubtedly there are others.

Soylent is a horrible name, taken in jest from the film Soylent Green. Please note that, whereas Soylent Green was made out of human cadavers, two other forms of Soylent (Red and Yellow) presumably weren’t. In any case, today’s product should be called Soylent Putty; it isn’t made out of humans or, for the most part, from soy.

Here are some basic observations:

The Soylent pouch and fish-oil bottle

The Soylent pouch and fish-oil bottle

  • I received version 1.1. Now they’re on to version 1.3, which uses algal oil instead of fish oil.
  • It’s nice to get an extremely well-balanced meal. Sometimes, though, I wanted less than one-third of something, such as sodium, because I’d already had a lot in another meal. These days, given my restricted activity, I’d prefer to have fewer calories in each meal.
  • Soylent comes with a high-quality pitcher for mixing and storing the drink. It seals perfectly, so I can shake mixes without fearing a mess. I now use it for pancake batter and tea.
  • Ironically, preparing single servings of Soylent is inexact. It comes in three-serving pouches of powder and bottles of fish oil. I found it maddeningly difficult ensure that I dispensed one-third of each container. Ultimately, to avoid this problem, I chose to mix three servings at once, which required that I consume one serving a day before the mix went bad. But the pitcher doesn’t have markings to indicate how much should be dispensed for each meal! I resorted to measuring the level with a ruler.
  • Every aspect of this process was a pain compared to competing Jetsons foods such as Ensure, Clif Bars, Boost, and so on.

    Soylent with chocolate syrup

    Soylent with chocolate syrup

  • Without additions, Soylent did not have an attractive taste. With my nose plugged I could stand it. So I added chocolate syrup, and it tasted better with my nose plugged.
  • Soylent goes bad after a couple of days in a refrigerator, yet its taste apparently improves after sitting overnight. These factors really limit its flexible use.
  • I found it filling.

In short, I see some benefits of consuming Soylent, but I don’t anticipate ordering another batch anytime soon, unless my situation overseas demands it or they change the taste and packaging.

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